Border Patrol Chief Says 1.5 Million ‘Gotaways’ Now in US Since Biden Took Office

By Bryan Jung
Bryan Jung
Bryan Jung
Bryan S. Jung is a native and resident of New York City with a background in politics and the legal industry. He graduated from Binghamton University.
March 21, 2023Updated: March 22, 2023

Around 1.5 million illegal immigrants have been able to sneak across the border and remain in the country under President Joe Biden, the U.S. Border Patrol chief told Congress on Wednesday.

Raul L. Ortiz told the House’s Homeland Security Committee on March 15 that Biden’s unwillingness to protect the border has opened the doors to around 1.5 million undocumented immigrants from the south, citing updated numbers.

Almost 6 million illegal immigrants have now entered and attempted to remain the United States in 2021 and 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Of these, the latest figures show that 1.3 million so-called “gotaways” were spotted by Border Patrol’s agents and surveillance systems, plus an estimated 200,000 additional untracked immigrants, said Ortiz, who provided agency data.

“At today’s Homeland Security Committee hearing, Chief Ortiz testified that there an additional 20% of illegal alien ‘gotaways’ completely unaccounted for. The border is indeed NOT SECURE,” said Rep. Carlos Giminez (R-FL) in a post on Twitter.

Over 1 Million Illegal Immigrants Still Unaccounted For

Agency data says that of the 6 million illegal immigrants, 4.4 million had been captured by Border Patrol. But over 1.5 million evaded capture.

“Supposing that we have 1.3 million [spotted] gotaways that we know of, what is your estimate of the people—that we don’t know about—that got away?” Giminez asked Ortiz.

Ortiz confirmed to the Florida Congressman that the number of illegals escaping into the United States is skyrocketing.

“I will tell you that the gotaway number is a number that for a long time was associated with [field inspections] …  it was our agents out there actually cutting swaths of country and using, you know, footprints as an indicator as to what we were seeing out there. That was our situational awareness,” Ortiz said.

“With the investments that this Congress has made into the Border Patrol CBP as a whole [such as balloon-mounted cameras], we have greater situational awareness now than I’ve ever had. My confidence level in that gotaway numbers continues to increase. Is it 100 percent [confidence]? No, sir.”

“[We’ve had] 385,000 gotaways so far this fiscal year [since October 1]. We continue to refine that number. I’ve got to do a better job of accounting for the actual encounters,” he explained.

“In my estimation, based upon the situational awareness that I have, [is that there are] probably between 10 percent and 20 percent [more untracked gotaways],” Ortiz concluded.

The Border Patrol Chief gave an estimate of 1.5 million “gotaways” in addition to the 2.7 million migrants who jumped the border since the start of Biden’s first term.

The Mexican cartels “are making billions—billions—bringing people into the United States, many of whom … have to pay the cartels back with forced criminal labor,” said Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) at the hearing.

White House ‘Catch and Release’ Program Being Fought in Courts

Meanwhile, the White House has so far allowed at least 70,000 migrants to enter via “parole pathways” since January, with the inflow slated to reach 600,000 a year.

This is in addition to the roughly 1 million legal immigrants allowed into this country annually and roughly 750,000 short-term and long-term temporary workers, according to an act of Congress in 1990.

However, Biden’s catch-and-release orders have already been ruled illegal by a federal judge in Florida.

DHS’s use of “parole pathway” releases are now facing a second lawsuit from Florida and 19 other states.

Those parole pipelines would have allowed at least 2.5 million legal immigrants per year to stay in the United States, in addition to the 1.5 million that have come across the Southern border.

A 54 percent majority of Americans say Biden is allowing a southern border invasion, according to an August 2022 poll commissioned by National Public Radio (NPR).

Those concerned included 76 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents, and even 40 percent of Democrats.